There’s a lot going on in Austin, Texas right now. The ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ is drawing in visitors beyond reasons of a concert ticket. Folks are traveling in to immerse themselves in nature, discover Lone Star state history, dance on downtown rooftops, and of course, sample delights across a diversifying culinary scene that’s moved on from simply barbecue and tacos. The choices are vast, so we’ve narrowed down the most current must-dos for first-timers landing at AUS.
Paddle Lady Bird Lake (and more)
Named after former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, this lake is a slew of attractions rolled in one. There’s Bat Watching on Congress Avenue Bridge, where you can witness millions of migrating bats between March and October; There are trails for hiking and biking such as the Ann Roy Butler Trail; And of course, there’s all the splash activity you can have on the lake itself. Austin Rowing Club is the best place to rent a kayak or paddleboard.
Uncover Lone Star State history
Culture vultures – this is the place to be. Austin’s got all kinds of museums that journey patrons through the deep roots of Texas. We recommend the Bullock State History Museum. The Mexi-Art Museum and the LBJ Presidential Library. Of course, you’ll have to see the local icon, the Texas State Capitol, which also offers guided tours, and for those who prefer the alternative, how about the Museum of the Weird?
Gain a few pounds
If you haven’t packed extra pounds, then you haven’t done Texas right. Austin is foodie heaven, with all kinds of cuisines to whet that appetite. In terms of the classics; TLC’s best for southern grub, Tacodeli and Torchy’s are everywhere for tacos, and Leroy and Lewis is the coolest BBQ food truck around. However, don’t miss recently acclaimed sensations such as Sazan (Japanese), 40 North (Italian), Old Thousand (Chinese), all the international goodies at Fareground food hall, and Austin’s best bagels at Rosen’s.
Experience live everything
The live entertainment scene encompasses more than guitars and vocals; it includes dance, talks, drag and much more. The Continental Club is where to see intimate live shows across a variety of genres; the Paramount Theatre is the grand beauty showcasing everything from comedy to extravagant galas, and if you’re partial to a spot of musical theatre then check out Zach’s schedule of dazzling local talent.
Say ‘Cheers’ with new friends
Austin is known for being one of the most welcoming and friendliest cities in the state, so you’re bound to make some new buddies. The younger crowd will want to make a beeline for Sixth Street (aka ‘the dirty sixth’) or LGBTQ+ venues like Cheer Up Charlie’s and Rain, but for something swankier then check out The Roosevelt Room and Honey Moon Spirit Lounge, or go sake tasting at TenTen. Staying at the legendary Hotel Van Zandt? No need to venture far for the party. Your stay includes a complimentary wine hour every day 5pm-6pm, so head down to the lobby for a glass before taking the party to the rooftop pool for bites from Geraldine’s. If you’re in town on a Sunday, check out Geraldine’s Record Society – Vinyl, Wine + Swine. You won’t regret it.